Domestic violence results in a range of trauma-related consequences, including lack of support systems, drug/alcohol addiction, lack of basic life skills and a multitude of economic barriers. These issues foster conditions that cause domestic violence to thrive, contributing to unhealthy relationships and trapping victims in unhealthy environments. Sadly, in Wisconsin 21% of families (1.5 million persons, 27% of population) live at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Equally as important, many survivors of domestic violence identify economic issues as their chief concern. Pressing needs include: affordable housing; emergency assistance; living wage jobs; a path to economic self-sufficiency; and transportation.
Money and finances play an important role for many women when considering leaving an abusive partner. The devastation of leaving a home, income, benefits, and economic security behind are struggles that all survivors of domestic violence must overcome, regardless of their education, job skills and personal earning potential. Additionally, many survivors of domestic violence have nominal or no access to money or often have had their financial security destroyed by their abuser. Educational and vocational training are among the material and economic necessities crucial for survivors to escape the cycles of violence and poverty.
Wisconsin is home to a significant group of Russian, Hmong, Latino, Native Americans and African American people. WCADV and its sub-grantee are working to meet the unique needs of survivors from diverse populations. We understand that as a domestic violence movement we cannot achieve equality until we achieve justice. Thus, we place special emphasis on extending economic empowerment support and training to advocates who identify or who are working with people of color. Increasing financial literacy skills in community of color will assist survivors of abuse to gain economic stability and live a life free from intimate partner abuse, predatory lending and other systemic exploitation.
WCADV's Economic Justice Program, with support from funds provided by the Allstate Foundation, supports survivors to build financial independence by addressing their unique economic needs. WCADV's economic empowerment program provides resources to local programs to develop or enhance projects that address the singular or multitude of economic needs and challenges that survivors face.